Creepy Folk Horror Thriller On Disney+ Takes Inspiration From An All-Time Classic

By Robert Scucci | Published

lord of misrule

I’m ashamed to admit that when I first saw the cover photo for Lord of Misrule on the Hulu section of Disney+, I wasn’t wearing my glasses and my projector wasn’t yet fully focused. Thinking that I was reading “Lord of Minstrels,” I was expecting a movie about a psychotic juggler and acrobat who played the lute and beheaded whoever displeased him. As it turns out, I wasn’t going to go on a festive jaunt through medieval Europe, but was instead subjected to a horrifying plot about ritual human sacrifice for harvest not unlike the original version of The Wicker Man.

The Set-Up

Lord of Misrule is a tense folk horror film that takes place in a small, tight-knit rural community. Tuppence Middleton’s Rebecca Holland is trying to live a simple life with her husband, Henry (Matt Stokoe), and her soon-to-be-missing daughter, Grace (Evie Templeton). Though Rebecca is a newly appointed minister in the community, it’s clear that most of the town’s inhabitants worship an entirely different deity that they try to play off as a fun form of folklore that they celebrate every year at the harvest festival.

While becoming fully immersed in the lore surrounding a demon spirit named Gallowgog, I immediately realized that this movie wasn’t going to be a fun one. It doesn’t take long for Grace to go missing, and for Rebecca to realize that the town’s entire population knows something that she doesn’t in Lord of Misrule. Rebecca’s suspicions are further validated when neither the local police or her friends seem too concerned about finding Grace.

The Townsfolk

Lord of Misrule moves forward into some truly unsettling territory when the townsfolk’s intentions become clear. When Jocelyn Abney (Ralph Ineson), one of the villagers, reveals to Rebecca that his own child went missing years ago under the same suspicious circumstances, he seems to be okay with the fact that whoever (or whatever) took his child away from him “stands in the fields and waits.” Knowing that she has a finite amount of time to find her daughter if she wants to see her alive again, Rebecca leaves no stone unturned in her attempts to locate, and save, Grace from some sort of centuries-old Pagan ritual sacrifice.

The Performances Are Brilliant

It goes without saying that plots like the one that plays out in Lord of Misrule have been done before, but this film holds its own because of its beautiful photography and strong performances. I was especially fond of Alexa Goodall’s portrayal of a young village girl named Bryony Furleigh who is clearly in the know, but knows better than to tell Rebecca exactly what’s in store for Grace. As the villagers get further wrapped up in their annual harvest festivities, their menacing chants fold into the already sinister film score, which successfully made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

A Folk Horror Classic

The chanting, praying, secret rooms, indifferent villagers, and creepy animal masks are the ingredients that make Lord of Misrule such a memorable experience. If you walked away from watching folk horror films like Midsommar, The Wicker Man, or The Babadook with a profound sense of unease, you’ll feel the same way after watching this film. You’ll notice a healthy amount of thematic similarities between these titles, but Lord of Misrule is executed so well that it’s worthy of your attention for its cinematography and sound design alone.

Stream It Now


If you want to give Lord of Misrule a go, you can stream it through the Hulu section of Disney+. Just make sure you stream it before the upcoming fall harvest if you want to play it safe.